Here’s a proposal for approaching how believers relate to the OT Law
- The classic approach is to distinguish three types of Law
- Moral Law
- Ceremonial Law
- Civil Law
We then try to work out which ones were fulfilled by Christ, which abolished and which continue. The usual expectation is that the Moral Law continues, the ceremonial law including sacrifices was fulfilled in Christ and the civil law applied specifically to Israel. This is helpful.
However, it may lead to over artificial distinctions. here is another way of looking at things
2. The locus of the fulfilled law in Christ moves us to the heart. This is where the problem of cleanness and uncleanness happens. It is here where circumcision happens. It is here where the question of whether we have a High Priest, a mediator and a sacrifice is answered. It is here where according to the sermon on the Mount we are told that we either obey or disobey, either love God and our neighbour or commit idolatry, murder and adultery.
Nb (following feedback from Stephen Kneale) for clarity the issue is probably not so much distinguishing a law that did not look at the heart – think David and the Lord looking on his heart. More think in terms of what the Law was powerless to do because of sin. So it is that in Christ we have a new (circumcised heart) where God is enthroned and so is submitted to his rule (Law).
This gives us a law on the heart which remains holistic and integrated. It gives us a Law which we are righteous towards, not through our own works but through the imputed righteousness of Christ. This Law is then worked out in its different ways in the life of the believer.
What do you think?
Helpful/unhelpful? Better put by someone else? Quirky and weird/makes sense and could be useful?